New parents will be excited to learn about one of Nazareth Nursery‚Äôs most exciting – and involved – traditions, and it revolves around what we call ‚ÄúInternational Day.‚ÄĚ The name is deceiving, however, because the event goes well beyond one day of celebration.
In the week leading up to International Day, our children delve deeper into their cultural development through a series of educational presentations giving by none other than their own parents! I‚Äôve had the privilege of putting together and presenting one of these presentations during International Week 2009.
It can be intimidating to give a presentation to ten adults in a board room, but I found the idea of presenting to 40 preschoolers absolutely terrifying! I soon learned I had nothing to fear, however, because from the moment I entered the room, every little well-behaved child hung on every word, seemingly rapt on the information I had to share. I had to reach way back into my ancestry, but I managed to give the children a taste of French culture. Other presentations have covered Korea, Puerto Rico, Ireland, and more. If you have a particularly interesting cultural background, trust me when I say our children would love to learn all about it!
Run concurrent with International Day is the Nazareth Nursery Online and Silent Auction. (Check out last year’s online auction¬†and check the progress on this year’s auction.) ¬†This event is one of Nazareth‚Äôs largest fundraisers, and is run completely on parent-power. The Auction has evolved a great deal since its inception, and most recently it was moved to a mostly-online format, which helped to broaden the pool of participants and allow for a much longer time frame in which to bid on items. The online auction begins 45 days before International Day and ends the night before, allowing winning bidders to pick up and pay for items during International Day.
I was privileged to be part of the team that shaped the 2012 Auction, and I‚Äôm happy to report that we managed to move much of the ‚Äėpaperwork‚Äô onto the computer, making it simpler to recreate documents, retrieve information on donors from prior years, and upload items to the auction website, rather than starting from scratch each year.
There will be more details later in the semester, but generally as in previous years all Nazareth parents are expected to either solicit donated items to be auctioned off or to write a check to the school toward the overall fundraising goal. This year we will continue to streamline the Online Auction process, hopefully lightening the work load for all parents involved! By mining the businesses that donated in past years, starting much earlier in the semester, and expanding our capabilities online, the expected parents‚Äô participation will be more focused on advertising the Online Auction to broaden the base of potential bidders, rather than soliciting businesses (although that‚Äôs still very helpful!).
This is the main event! On International Day, we celebrate the different cultures that come together in our little corner of the world. Held on a Saturday, the event of International Day itself is also a fundraiser for the school and attendance is mandatory for all Nazareth families.
When you arrive, you‚Äôll have the opportunity to purchase either tickets (in $10 increments) or an ‚Äúall-you-can-eat‚ÄĚ wristband, both of which allow you to play games and ‚Äėbuy‚Äô from the wide and varied selection of foods from countries all around the world. After a couple hours of eating, chatting and games, the children put on a performance filled with music and dancing!
There are many ways parents help to make International Day a success:
- Set Up and/or Tear Down – This is especially good for dads as it involves a little heavy lifting. Two hours before and after International Day, we need parents to help retrieve tables and supplies from the basement and arrange them in the school and play yard. We also need people to help with general decorating, arranging food and activity tables, and other preparations.
- Making Food – the premier feature of International Day is the wide selection of finger foods inspired by our many cultures. If you make a delicious dish from your native land, please share it with us! All food must be brought in at least an hour before the event, cooked/prepared in advance.
- Game/Activity Tables – The children absolutely love hopping from one activity to the next, whether it‚Äôs making a nifty craft or playing a fun game, and it‚Äôs up to the parents to put together these activities. If you‚Äôve got a great idea, this is the place to share it!
- Administrative Assistance – Whether it‚Äôs selling tickets and wristbands at the door or putting together the brochures for the event, there are several odd-jobs that must be done for International Day to be a success. Tell us what your strengths are and we‚Äôll put them to good use!International Day is a tradition that we hold close to our hearts at Nazareth, and its a priceless opportunity for us to share our heritage not only with our own children, but with their classmates as well. In this way, we hope to make the world a friendlier, more understanding and accepting place, and to celebrate the many rich cultures that grow together to give New York its melting pot charm.
Here are a few tips for soliciting businesses:
- Start with your family and friends. Think about what you would like to bid on and seek those donations from those close to you. Our favorites include designer handbags and jewelry, restaurants, spa and cosmetic treatments, hotels, restaurants, children‚Äôs classes and camps, beauty products, fine wines and spirits, and destination/vacation packages.
- Think about what you may have access to already: a week‚Äôs stay in a vacation home; tickets to events such as sports, theatre, dance or music; a special service such as a dinner prepared in someone‚Äôs home or cupcakes for a party; a behind-the-scenes day at your workplace, etc.
- Who else do you know? Could they donate an amazing experience like: backstage passes to a concert, visits to the set of a tv show or movie, a wine tasting, tickets to a fashion show, or lunch with a public figure.
- Don‚Äôt forget your local merchants, especially the places where you shop/eat. Your potential donors know how important Nazareth Nursery is to the vitality of the Chelsea. Our merchants and donors want to be part of that success so don’t be afraid to approach them!